BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Town Council presented citations Wednesday night to four high school spring sports teams that won championships, acknowledging what all agreed was an outstanding year for Bronco athletics.
Citations were given to members of three Division III State Champion teams: boys and girls varsity lacrosse, and co-op girls varsity fastpitch softball. Members of the Division II A Champion Burrillville High School wrestling team were also honored.
Athletic Director John Abbate thanked councilors for recognizing the athletes, noting that teams that played earlier in the year also deserve high praise.
“We had a fantastic year at Burrillville High School athletic-wise,” Abbate said. “The kids in the fall cleared the path for every other team that we have in winter and spring games.”
Fall athletes, he noted, were the first to comply with pandemic-related restrictions, from mask-wearing, to questions and temperature checks at every practice.
“When the state finally gave us the approval to begin sports, that was in mid-September, about a month later than what we usually do,” Abbate said. “There was a lot of protocol to follow. They had to go through an awful lot.”
While fall teams may not have gone home with a division or state championship, the student athletes were champions nonetheless, Abbate said.
“I stressed with the kids one goal this year: let’s make it through the season,” Abbate said. “There’s a lot of teams that didn’t.”
The athletic director noted that the girls hockey team made it to the playoffs, and boys and girls cross country had one finisher in the top 15 at the class meets.
For winter sports, girls basketball just missed the playoffs by one game, and the boys basketball team made it to the state finals during their first year in Division II.
“That was quite a feat,” Abbate said, noting that the achievements took place for the first time ever with no fans allowed in the gymnasium.
“I saw the best basketball that I’ve seen in years,” Abbate said. “It was great to watch.”
Girls hockey made it to the semi-finals, as did boys hockey, finishing 3rd in Division I.
“Burrillville was the highest-ranking public school in Division I hockey,” he noted.
Individual boys and girl runners and swim team members were, “very competitive,” Abbate noted, and girls volleyball made it to the quarterfinals.
The Bronco football team was named division champions during their first year in Division I before losing in the semifinals.
Jake Trimble came in second place in the state in golf, and boys baseball made it to the Division II state finals. BHS had a state qualifier outdoor track, and the boys volleyball team won the team sportsmanship award.
“All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic year and the spring just topped it off,” Abbate said, noting that the students also appreciate the acknowledgement. “They’ll never tell you but they love it.”
“I think it’s wonderful that these young men and women are being recognized tonight,” he said.